Critter Corner: Managing Long-Distance Caregiving with Technology

Dear Commander Bun Bun,

I am a long-distance caregiver for my father, who has Parkinson’s and lives 2,000 miles away. My children are in school here, and my husband works for the government in DC, so I don’t foresee us moving to be near dad anything soon. Do you know about any good technology I can use for peace of mind that he is okay, and taking his meds on time etc.? Thanks for your help!

Farah Wei

Dear Farah,

The way caregivers manage and provide care from any distance (whether on the other side of the house or 2,000 miles away) has been completely transformed by technology. In fact, a recent AARP report estimated that the caregiving market was $42.9 billion in 2016 and will grow to $72 billion by 2020 — and much of that growth will involve technological solutions.

Long-distance caregivers especially need tech solutions to keep tabs on loved ones, and mostly to ensure that they are okay. Below are some handy tools that can help you in your situation:

Communication: A good way to get a read on your loved one’s health is to be able to see him face-to-face. Besides Skype, there is Ohmni, Nest, and several other face-to-face mobile apps. These technologies are very easy to setup and allow you to be in the home with your loved one – virtually.

Protect your loved one’s money: The True Link Card costs $10 a month, and can be set up online to protect your loved one’s money. Algorithms developed by the company track transactions that are then matched to scams targeting the elderly, such as “miracle” products and unwanted subscriptions. Caregivers receive alerts of suspicious charges.

Monitor your loved one’s safety and well-being: Lively personal emergency response provides a wide range of remote monitoring for the safety and well-being of seniors living alone. Lively’s safety watch provides intelligent medication reminders. Activity sensors measure healthy living patterns, while letting family members know when something may be wrong, such as missed meals or decreased physical activity.

For more technologies that support long distance caregiving, Consumer Reports has a good review of such technologies here.

Hop this was helpful,

Commander Bun Bun

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